Mushoor Dal (No Tadka)

This recipe is technically a repost. I’d hidden a quick version of it in the notes to one of the very first dal recipes I posted on the blog, way back in January 2015. That was a recipe for split, peeled mushoor dal—or red lentils, as they’re prosaically known in the US—made in a classic Bengali style. The dal there is boiled with water and turmeric and salt and then a phoron or tadka of cumin seeds/panch phoron + onion, garlic and green chillies is added to it. That’s a very nice dal and if you haven’t made it yet you should. But this version is both more nourishing and far less fussy: everything is cooked together and there is no tadka/phoron at the end. Instead there’s a lot of whole garlic and a bit of tomato. It makes for a deeply flavoured, richly textured dal that can be eaten with rice or chapatis or just slurped out of a bowl.


  • 1 cup mushoor/masoor dal (split, peeled), rinsed in several changes of water
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
  • 1 cup onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled (if any cloves are very large, cut them in half lengthwise)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 3 thai chillies, slit lengthwise
  • 1 tblspn ghee
  • 1/2 cup chopped dhania/cilantro
  • Salt


  1. Add everything but the dhania to the pot together and bring to a boil.
  2. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook for 30-40 minutes or till the dal is completely mashed up.
  3. Uncover, give it a good stir and mash any pieces of tomato that haven’t cooked down completely against the side of the pot.
  4. Taste/adjust for salt and mix in the dhania. You’re done.


  1. Remember: mushoor dal will rise as it comes to a boil. You can either keep an eye out for this and stir it down and reduce the heat as soon as it boils or you can just cook it in a large pot.
  2. If eating with steamed rice add a big squeeze of lime to your plate.
  3. This is perfect with rice and a hot pickle (like this lime pickle from Usha’s Pickle Digest). But I also love to drink it straight out of a bowl.
  4. Remember, like all dals, this will thicken as it sits in the fridge. Try to finish it in no more than two days.
  5. For another delicious tadka-free dal with very few ingredients, see this boiled moog dal.


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